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Whalebones: Balancing National Priorities, Local Culture and Private Interests

Andrew Quarles, Jennifer Wendell & Kirk Emerson (University of Arizona)

February 2021


"Whalebones Balancing National Priorities, Local Culture and Private Interests" is an instructional simulation that creates an opportunity for learners to engage in a realistic multi-party scenario that requires conflict resolution skills and collaborative management strategies to work with federal regulators, university experts, and community stakeholders around the disposition of whalebones from the beaching of an endangered whale, the North Atlantic Right Whale.  This instructional simulation focuses on a community conflict on the coast of Maine arising over the implementation of national environmental policies, in this case the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the high priority protection status of the North Atlantic Right Whale.  The purpose of the simulation is to introduce students to a multi-dimensional, high conflict setting with complex interdependencies.  The case includes scientific, legal, cultural and emotional dimensions and multi-scale issue complexity.  The simulation creates an opportunity for students to practice conflict resolution skills and cooperative approaches to reach realistic interest-based solutions and develop collaborative management strategies and structures.